Staff Profile

Tom Bernard
Senior Solicitor
0114 249 6640
Based at: Sheffield
Qualified: 2011
Joined Howells: 2007
Practice Area: Employment and Discrimination
Memberships: Employment Lawyers Association

Tom qualified in the employment department in 2011. He has significant experience and expertise in handling a wide range of employment matters from wage and holiday pay claims to Unfair Dismissal claims to discrimination, TUPE and whistle blowing matters – acting for both individuals and businesses. Tom deals with all employment issues from general advice, grievances and appeals to Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal cases.

Over recent years Tom has achieved notable success in complex discrimination and TUPE claims securing favourable outcomes for his clients.

Tom also has expertise in non-contentious employment issues – preparing contracts, policies, staff handbooks, advising on business transfers, grievance and disciplinary issues and negotiating and finalising settlement agreements.

He has a measured and level-headed approach to his work and provides clear, easy to understand advice to his clients forming strong and effective working relationships with his clients. Tom always ensures that he works with his client to understand their requirements and objectives and takes this into account in resolving disputes.

Tom regularly conducts his own advocacy at the Employment Tribunal.


“Big thank you to Tom Bernard who recently handled my case. He picked up on the facts quickly and offered clear advice at each stage of the process, which ended up dragging on for over 9 months. He was understanding and supportive throughout this really stressful time and the final result was a positive outcome for myself and my family. Highly recommend.” – L.E. Jan, 2019

“Thank you for all your advice, support and time at each stage of the case. It felt like a relief knowing it is being handled professionally and that the logistics of the case are being taken care of. Your service has been excellent, professional and very open and honest, and I would not hesitate to refer yourself or your firm to friends or family should they need legal representation for anything.” Mr A

“Howells Solicitors and in particular Tom Bernard represented me in a sensitive case of disability discrimination and harassment in the work place with a previous employer. Tom was extremely professional and empathetic throughout, giving excellent advise and knowledge of the legal system surrounding my case. Through Tom’s expertise we reached a favourable outcome without the need of attending court. I would have no hesitation in using both Howells and Tom's services in the future and would wholeheartedly recommend them.” Mr C

“Tom Bernard has provided reassurance, balanced advice, thoroughness and clarity in a complex situation. Has also been very clear in agreeing what he was asked to do etc. He has been a ‘rock’ in the background, when I have often vented out my frustrations with the ongoing battles. I felt that we worked together as a team, and able to freely express thoughts/opinions etc. His emails are well thought out and written, in order to be able to explain/clarify issues/terminology with regards to legal aspects. The firm is friendly and approachable. Decisions were made jointly, rather than ‘being told’. All instructions/transactions clearly explained and documented, and with clarity over fees, so no ‘hidden extras’” Mr V

“ I would like to take this opportunity to thank you greatly for the work experience day yesterday. It was a great help in taking a step towards my goal and gave me great experience and knowledge in the legal profession. If there are anymore opportunities for legal placements in the future I would be ecstatic to take part again. Thank you again to you and all the Howells team” Mr S

Notable cases

Recent examples of work Tom has undertaken include:

– A successful Employment Tribunal claim for a disabled client suffering PTSD who was discriminated against by his employer in what the Tribunal described as a ‘callous’ manner and dismissed following a business transfer, achieving compensation of over £120,000.
– A successful claim of Unfair Dismissal under TUPE arising out of a business transfer for a CEO of a local organisation.
– A complex claim of religious discrimination pursued through to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
– A successful claim of disability discrimination in respect of sickness absence procedure pursued against an NHS Trust.
– Negotiating a settlement for a disabled client working in a large multi-national company, including financial compensation, a commitment to providing reasonable adjustments and retraining.

Professional Recommendations

The Legal 500 2018 guide ranks Howells employment team as a recommended firm in Sheffield and surrounding areas, stating “The 'friendly and approachable' employment team at Howells is known primarily for its representation of employees in tribunal claims. Clare Fowler and Tom Bernard jointly head the team, which is supported by head of civil litigation Graham Hogarth. Fowler has particular experience delivering discrimination advice, while Bernard is recommended for his 'balanced advice, thorough and clear communication' in relation to claims. The team has recently handled disability discrimination claims, in addition to unfair dismissal claims under TUPE. The practice also has experience acting for SMEs, including advising one employer on a complex redundancy matter.”